Linda Briskin (1999)

briskinAffiliation at the time of the award: York University, Social Sciences.

Citation: Linda Briskin has been recognized by faculty, students and tutorial assistants as someone who has a passion for teaching. Her early days as a high school teacher, and her subsequent career as a college instructor, have given her an in-depth understanding of pedagogy that she continues to develop in the university setting. One of the main themes of this pedagogical work is “power in the classroom”. This work on the dynamics of how power operates and how it can be negotiated in the classroom, particularly with reference to race, gender, and sexual orientation, has earned Linda both a national and international reputation. Her 1990 publication, Feminist Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning Liberation, is widely circulated and reprinted in a variety of publications.

Students speak of the lasting impact of her teaching and the degree to which she can help them make personal sense of contemporary issues. “There are few professors that can challenge students to think critically and encourage students to reach their full potential”, says one of Linda’s students. The dedication and commitment Linda brings to her teaching are reflected in student evaluations. She earns ratings that are consistently above 4 on a 5-point scale, and that are well above the averages for first year courses.

The Faculty of Arts recently introduced the Foundations Program where first and second year students in the Divisions of Social Science and Humanities take courses which are explicitly designed to develop their critical skills in reading, writing and analytical methods. Linda’s teaching colleagues in her Foundations course – Women and Society – define her as a fabulous teacher who organizes material beautifully and gives first year students a sense of academic security that makes it possible for them to dramatically improve their performance. Linda has taken a leadership role in developing the Foundations Program by identifying key issues and strategies. She was recently named a 1998 recipient of the Faculty of Arts Dean’s Award for Teaching at York University.